Belly dancing 390.
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Belly dancing may be good for a woman’s health. So suggest Clalit Health
Services’ community medicine researchers who looked into the matter. (The former
belly dancer who abandoned the “Big Brother” reality TV show, take note.)
Researchers sent questionnaires to 300 women with an average age of 48 who
participated in belly dancing classes. Almost half of the questionnaires were
sent back with full responses. A statistical analysis showed that more than 40
percent of those who shook their hips and danced lost significant amounts of
weight; their assessed health was much better; and they visited the doctor less
frequently after dancing. The research was published recently in the Israeli
Journal of Family Practice.
Almost all the muscles are used in the
rhythmic dancing, the researchers said, and the movements are “natural” and
resemble mixing dough, harvesting fruits and serving food. Begun in ancient
Egypt, belly dancing was originally a ritual practice.
the Clalit study were taught by a woman doctor who also studied belly
They danced two hours a week for a year. The majority were born
in Israel, divorced and nonsmokers.
Average body mass index dropped from
25.34 (above the overweight limit) to 24.65 (just below it) and from an average
of 68.7 to 66.84 kilos.MINORITY SHOPPERS MAY REGARD MALLS AS ‘SACRED’
An international study of holiday shopping and religion finds that
dominant religious groups are more likely to experience “consumption mass
hysteria” while shoppers in minority religions, such as Judaism, may view malls
and stores instead as central meeting places that “can play an active role in
the creation of a sacred event.”
The study, co-authored by marketing
Prof. Ayalla Ruvio of Philadelphia’s Temple University, found that holiday
consumption in dominant religious settings – such as American Christians or
Israeli Jews – can lead to greater frenzy and a “social tidal wave” that pushes
people to excess during holidays.
The researchers said consumers in
minority or immigrant religions tend during holidays to seek the company of
those who share their beliefs. For some, shopping outlets aren’t shrines to
Instead, they offer a gathering place for a “critical mass” in
a religion to interact and temporarily overcome their minority religious status
– creating a type of “marketplace sacralization.” In effect, “the marketplace,
though normally viewed as profane and commercial, can, through the collective
actions of religious devotees, be transformed into… a place of worship and
fellowship,” the authors wrote.
The researchers conducted 41 in-depth,
at-home interviews with Muslims, Jews and Christians in the US, Israel and
Tunisia to examine consumers’ behavior when their given religion represents
either a majority, minority or immigrant faith. For example, Christians are a
religious majority in the US, a minority in Israel and an immigrant religion in
Some minority-religion consumers found comfort in marketplaces
or products shared by those with similar beliefs. In one interview, a member of
the Tunisian Jewish community used the animated Prince of Egypt
movie to assist
in his family’s Passover observance. “Rather than the sacred being invaded by
the secular, the sacred comes to inhabit the secular,” they wrote.
countries where a religious group was the majority, the dominant religion
experienced “consumption mass hysteria,” which led to consequences of debt,
drunkenness and overeating.
Dominant religions also tend to view
religious holidays as a time of national or ethnic glory and “perfection,” while
minority and immigrant religions report a stronger desire to preserve their
traditions and customs, meaning these groups may be more orthodox in their
Despite the many differences, participants from every
religious groups emphasized charity and expressed the spiritual importance of
helping others during the central holy days of Passover, Christmas and Ramadan.